A veteran of 14 professional seasons, Steve Poapst was signed as a free agent and made his first appearance as a professional with the Hampton Roads Admirals during the 1991-92 season. He spent two seasons with the Admirals where he was an active participant in earning the 1992 Riley Cup Championship. In 1992-93, he earned the ECHL First Team All-Star honors. In 118 ECHL games with Hampton Roads, Poapst scored 18 goals and 73 points.
Following his time with the Admirals, Poapst played 498 AHL games, a majority of which were with the Portland Pirates, registering 45 goals and 205 total points with an impressive +127 plus/minus rating. He won the 1994 Calder Cup with the Pirates and led Portland to the Calder Cup Final in 1996. Poapst signed his first career NHL contract with the Washington Capitals in February of 1995. Although he spent the majority of the 1995-96 season with Portland, Poapst made his NHL debut playing in three games with Washington and scoring his first NHL goal.
Poapst would return to Norfolk during the 2000-01 season after signing as a free agent with the Chicago Blackhawks, making him one of only five players to play for both the ECHL and AHL Admirals. He played in 37 games with Norfolk in 2000-01 and scored a goal and nine points. After a strong NHL season in 2001-02, Poapst enjoyed his most productive season offensively in 2002-03 when he tallied 13 points and was +14 for the Blackhawks. In 307 career NHL games between Washington, Chicago, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, Poapst registered eight goals and 28 assists.
Poapst played in 93 playoff games between the ECHL, AHL, and NHL, registering 28 post-season points and winning both the Riley Cup and Calder Cup. Poapst retired after the 2005-06 season and joined the coaching staff for the Rockford IceHogs, AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, before the start of the 2010-11 season. In 155 career games between the ECHL and AHL Admirals, Poapst scored 19 goals and 82 points.